Youth unemployment and employment trajectories in Spain during the Great Recession: what are the determinants?

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© 2019, The Author(s). Since the beginning of the recession period in Europe, unemployment has greatly affected the young adult population. In this context, Spain is regarded as an extreme case, due to its exceptionally high youth unemployment rates. This article seeks to identify the determinants that have led certain groups of Spanish young people to suffer labour market trajectories with higher levels of unemployment and instability during the Great Recession than others. To do this, retrospective data from the 2012 Catalan Youth Survey are used. With these data and using cluster analysis, a typology of labour market trajectories is constructed. Next, multinomial logistic regressions are used to identify what individual socio-demographic characteristics and pre-crisis employment experiences are connected to these different typological career paths. Results show that the highly differentiated career paths are associated with different social profiles and differences in the presence of unemployment. Moreover, interesting differences among the most unstable career paths appear. For the most vulnerable social profiles the employment trajectory prior to the crisis seems to point towards the existence of an entrapment in low-skilled jobs that alternate with situations of unemployment. For those with a slightly better position their employment situation after the initiation of the crisis seems to have been impacted by their brief labour market trajectory before the crisis and their resulting work experience gap.
Original languageEnglish
Article number4
JournalJournal for Labour Market Research
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2019


  • Employment trajectories
  • Great Recession
  • Labour markets
  • Spain
  • Unemployment
  • Youth


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